Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


chosen from among the masters of theology in the university
itself, and consequently that he should be as much a university
officer as a Church officer.   In point of fact, he combined the
functions of chancellor and rector, and the proctors who were the
administrative heads of the two Oxford nations were subordinate
to him as the head of the university.   Before the end of the Four-
teenth Century, the growth of his authority had proceeded so far
that he had become independent of the original episcopal juris-
diction, with the happy result that Oxford enjoyed a quite excep-
tional degree of freedom and continued to be a centre of fresh
thinking after scholasticism had become decadent on the Continent.
All the time this constitutional movement was under way, the
gradual congregation of students in halls and colleges was pre-
paring for a still greater change that was to affect the whole future
history of the English universities.   These halls and colleges were
not peculiar to Oxford.   The medieval fondness for life in societies
led to the formation of colleges in most university towns at an early
date ;  and in Paris in particular considerable progress had been
made in this direction before the appearance of the earliest English
colleges in the latter part of the Thirteenth Century,   The first
institutions of the kind were the hospices or halls which groups of
students carried on for themselves under the presidency of a
principal selected from their own number.   The earliest colleges
were simply endowed hospices, intended by their founders for
the benefit of poor scholars engaged in study under university
masters.    But endowment implied more than a guarantee of
revenue.   In an age when all benefactions were a form of piety,
it gave a religious character to the institution concerned.   In this
case it led to the establishment, not of a secular lodging-house for
students and teachers as it would in modern times, but of what
was virtually a collegiate church, only differing from other collegi-
ate churches in being " founded ad studendum et orandum instead
of ad orandum et studendum.'9   And with this came a new idea of
the function of a university college, suggested in all probability by
the example of the monastic orders which had established houses
for the members of their order studying or teaching in university
towns.    It became an essential duty of the masters and older
students in residence to give educational direction to their juniors
and to supplement the ordinary teaching of the university masters
by further teaching.